Beacons of Hope: Canadian Donors Provide Critical Aid to Syrian Victims of the 2023 Earthquake

27 March 2024

The powerful earthquake that shook Syria and Turkey in February 2023 (and thousands of aftershocks) resulted in unimaginable destruction and loss of life. As the deadliest earthquake since the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the fifth-deadliest of the 21st century, it claimed over 60,000 victims in both countries, injured over 100,000 and displaced millions from their homes.

The Challenging Context in Syria

While aid was slowly making its way to Turkey, the situation in Syria was much more complicated, due to the ongoing conflict and the many challenges that aid organizations face on the ground.

Millions of Syrians – already living the terrible impacts of a protracted civil war – had to contend with yet another disaster, in an already under-served and under-resourced area. A full week after the earthquake, almost no search and rescue efforts had been started, as rescue teams were denied entry.[1] Local organizations and volunteers did their very best to rescue those trapped, but they completely lacked the equipment and training for this task. “We knew there were people under the ruins,” a volunteer with the White Helmets said. “We heard their cries, but we did not have the equipment to rescue them.”[2]

The Power of a Global Network

Epicentre of earthquake.
SRD headquarters are in Gaziantep, some 30 kms from the epicentre. The charitable activities were carried out in the Aleppo area, some 130 kms from the epicentre.

Leveraging its vast global network, Myriad Canada contacted Syria Relief and Development (SRD), a trusted local partner organization. With a regional office in Gaziantep, Turkey (the epicentre of the quake), they were already hard at work alleviating the suffering of the affected Syrian population by providing critical relief through medical aid, shelter, and food supplies, aiming to stabilize the situation and offer a glimmer of hope amidst the chaos.

Ground Impact: A Ray of Hope

Thanks to the generosity of Canadian donors, Myriad Canada worked with SRD to provide urgent medical care and winter clothing for children.

In total, over 18,000 people who were impacted by the earthquake (many of whom are IDPs) benefitted from the Canadian funds.

  • Nine health facilities received shipments of urgently needed medication and medical supplies;
  • 14,451 individuals benefitted from those medications;
  • A mobile clinic provided essential health-care consultations to 3,469 individuals.


In addition to health care services, winter clothing was provided to 135 children, including 99 children in an orphanage that had to date had not received sufficient aid.

Orphanage in Azaz-Kafra Village

While conducting a survey of a village that had received only sporadic support, SRD workers came across an orphanage that had become home to 99 children – 79 of whom had lost one parent in the earthquake and 20 of whom had lost both parents.


In addition to delivering the much-needed winter clothing, SRD facilitators provided recreational activities geared at improving the psychological well-being of the children. Nine sessions were held, with activities such as ‘Blue Color’ to help concentration and motivate participation through physical activity; the ‘Seed’ activity to help with relaxation and creates a sense of awareness that other children may have had similar experiences; and the ‘Egg’ activity, to stimulate a feeling of calm and safety.


This distribution not only provided warm clothing; it became a critical point of entry to assess the children and their families’ essential needs, allowing for the safe identification and referral of children in need of case management or other essential services.

OUR Global Community

The collaboration between Myriad Canada and SRD in the aftermath of the Syrian earthquake is a powerful reminder of the difference make when we come together for a common cause. “Together, we can turn tides of despair into waves of hope. Your support is more than a donation; it’s a beacon of hope for those who have lost so much,” says Benoit Fontaine, Executive Director of Myriad Canada.

Join us in making a difference! Your contribution, big or small, is always a beacon of light and hope where it is needed the most.

“This support was a lifeline in our darkest hours. It’s more than just aid; it’s a message that we’re not forgotten.”


[1] Bahia Zrikem, Norwegian Refugee Council

[1] Why has it been so hard to get aid to Syria after the earthquake?